Do you want to start eating healthy?
Do you want to become more active?
Do you want to start or finish that project that’s been on your list for years?
All you have to do to take action, to move forward, to either start anything new or finish what you started comes down to this…Stop thinking! Yes, that’s it. Job done. You’re probably saying to yourself, “How could that possibly do anything.” The problem is you don’t realize how much thinking gets in the way.
Stop to start? Are are you crazy?
It sounds so crazy, I know. Yet, it works. I discovered I’ve been using this “Stop to Start” technique for years. For me, it started out as a coping mechanism, somewhat of survival technique I created as a child to deal with some of life’s unpleasant challenges. I simply, just shut off my brain and move on. Looking back I realized, there were other examples. I used it to start exercising. My sister had shared her idea of doing sit ups in bed as soon as she woke up to get her in the habit of doing it. I tried it, it worked. Why, because I wasn’t thinking. I just did it. My brain wasn’t even awake enough for me to shut it off. I use a similar technique to handle migraines and hiccups. Yes, believe it or not, I just forget I have hiccups and they go away.
I’ve shared this approach with family and friends who all think it’s a bunch of mumbo jumbo. I don’t blame them. I couldn’t explain HOW I do it myself, other than, I simply stop thinking. It’s been so helpful for me. I wanted to find a way to share this with all of you in a way it might make sense. So, I decided to take a more scientific approach. Now, I’m not a behaviorist, Psychiatrist, scientist or physician. I do have an undergraduate degree in Psychology so I do remember how the brain works, at a high level anyway.
Here we go. The decision making process in your brain functions on a basic risk vs reward system. Example: You want to eat a healthy meal but all these questions start popping up (Do I have all the ingredients, do I want salmon or chicken, is the spinach still good, will I need to go to the store, I said I would stop eating late, I think I still have ice cream left ). All of these are distractions. The more questions you start to ask the more overwhelmed your brain becomes. Cognitive control is supposed to keep you in check when making a decision. However, as we all know, not everyone is the same and not everyone’s brain can cope in the same manner.
Our ability to make value-based decisions based on our internal risk vs reward system may get out sync. Now, there are number of scientific reasons this may happen and I won’t go into them here. As I said, I’m not a scientist and I have no medical or advance psychoanalyst training. I do know, being in a state of “overwhelm” is basically “stress” and stress does inhibit our ability to make decisions. Emotions rise and those emotions simply get in the way of rational thought. There will be nothing rational about those chocolate chips. You will just want them!
Which brings me back to my technique. Stop thinking! Turn the brain off and your cognitive center may gain back control. So how do I do it? I had to actual stop and think ( oh no) to figure it out. Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for a couple of second. As your blow the breath out through your mouth start moving towards the direction of the action you want to take. Take the breath again until you’ve started the activity or when you start to lose direction.
This will take practice. I’ve been doing it nearly my whole life and I still get stuck. The chocolate chip comment IS my own personal experience. You can even print out the picture as a reminder. Please try it and let me know how it goes. As I’ve stated in a previous post, time will move on regardless of whether you choose to try this today. It may just be the one thing you needed. I know it sounds really crazy but sometimes crazy works. At the end of the day it is All Just Choice, but sometimes we all need a little help.